We Have The Summer Holidays For This…

Apart from building work, a large part of the school Summer holidays are spent getting all of the computers ready for when staff and students come back in September. Most of the time this means installing or updating software, or general hardware or software maintenance that can’t be completed when people are around.

During these eight weeks or so, the largest majority of staff are away from work, most likely on their holidays. The staff who are probably in school are: IT, Maintenance, Cleaners, and occasionally a receptionist. Therefore, sending an email such as the following a few days after starting back to the IT department probably isn’t the best idea in the world:

Faced with a possibly daunting task, I went to find the user to ask exactly where they wanted it to be installed. Their responses of “on all computers please” and “it’s ever so easy, I even did it myself on my laptop last night. It only took a few minutes to install” didn’t help.

Now, luckily the fonts were standalone and didn’t come with an additional installer, so there was a chance that Group Policy may be able to help in this instance. A few seconds of searching brought up a helpful webpage that contained the steps needed to install the fonts onto the computers.

After trying this out on our testbed computers, and restarting a few times, the fonts showed up successfully on the devices. I deployed the policy to all computers and sent an email to let them know it was installed and what was needed to be done to use the font:

Knowing that it was working I left it to do its thing and carried on with the rest of my jobs. A few days later, I received this email from the teacher who is in charge of ICT in the lower school (the original email was from the teacher looking after literacy):

Background Information: We are an all through school (Nursery to Sixth Form), but the lower school (Nursery to Year 6) and upper school (Year 7 to Upper Sixth) are managed differently and have different teachers. Our IT network spans over both schools and all computers are set up exactly the same. I get on well with the ICT teachers, but quite often the lower school have more IT problems which are user based instead (but it most definitely is a fault with the IT network, according to what we’re told, despite the upper school surprisingly not having the same problems).

Anyway, after logging on to random computers throughout the school on my way to speak to the teacher, to check that the fonts were being installed correctly, I went into the classroom and asked them to show me what was happening as all other computers had the font installed.

Do you remember the steps I emailed which needed to be done? I’ve emphasised the part they were missing out:

  1. Open Word and select the font from the list.
  2. Click the Font menu (the little arrow under the part where you change text colour).
  3. Select the ‘Advanced’ tab.
  4. Tick the ‘Use contextual alternates’ button.

I’m not sure about you, but selecting the font that you want to use is normally an important step to get the computer to use the font. I’ll leave you to make up your mind about how accurate my background information section is.

In other news, a request has recently come in from a different staff member in the school. They want the OpenDyslexic font to be installed on all computers…

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